New York City, 2014

My friend Tim invited me to join him on a trip to New York City to see Speakeasy Dollhouse. I added on a trip to the Met museum to see an exhibit of mourning clothing, and he trumped me with a gin bar. It as a good trip, even though I was still in a knee immobilising brace from a fall the previous weekend. :-)

Saturday October 25, 2014

To fit in the museum visit with the 5pm start time of the play, Tim agreed to pick me up at 8am. Oof. Since we weren't sure if we'd have any place to change before the event, we were pretty much 1920's up barring our accessories. I wore my velvet drop waisted dress and packed a long string of fake pearls to knot up and my opera gloves and tiny hat. Traffic was fairly light only the usual slow downs at the big highway interchanges. Tim had a 'back' way into NYC that took some parkways and we pulled into a parking garage close to the play venue. I'd assumed that we'd park near the museum and then drive back down to SoHo, so I updated Sola and Rufus with our updated ETA. We ended up being an hour later than expected, which gave Sola time to navigate the weekend subway closures and get there soon after us, but Rufus has already had time to run through the exhibit. I'd set a 1pm meet up time fearing that there would be a line out the door, but it had just opened so it was crowded but not packed.

But before we could head up by subway to meet them Tim and I needed some food. There was a taco shop in the same block as the parking garage but of course since my knee was limiting my mobility (I could walk, just very slowly) we went out the wrong entrance and had to walk around the block. The food hit the spot, good and filling, and it was warm enough that they had the front of the shop open. Soon we were ducking down into the nearby subway entrance to take the trains up to Central Park. Let me just say: Boston totally wins in terms of accessibility versus NYC, I had to single step down so many staircases when I couldn't find any elevators or escalators. Once we got to the right Lexington Ave stop we had to walk across a few avenues to get to the Met, then up more stairs to the imposing entrance (accessible entrance was off to the side but we were running late enough that I didn't want to delay us further). The day was actually a lot warmer than we'd expected, I'd brought a lot of layers to make wearing my sleeveless dress comfortable for typical fall weather but ended up leaving a lot of them in the car. Sola arrived as Tim was sorting out our tickets (his company grants him museum access for him and a guest) and I led us off to try and find the way down stairs to the Death Becomes Her gallery without hitting any stairs. I misread the map (not to scale?) and ended up at the end of the building without seeing the elevator. Sola had to lead us back through some neat Egyptian galleries to find the elevator and it let us off right in front of the dimly lit and richly draped exhibit. Rufus was waiting for us and we started circling around looking at all the outfits and trying to read the moving quotes on the walls. Black clothes in dim light are hard to photograph, Tim had better luck with his iPhone than I did with my Android, I completely forgot my real camera. There were some uber gothy examples, the original source of a lot of the styles I was used to seeing in the clubs (the huge matte black cross especially caught my eye and Tim sent me his picture of it).

We spent a fair amount of time looking at all the dresses, arranged around the edges of a big square, maybe about an hour, but once we were done we were close enough to my 'leave now to make sure we get downtown in time for the play time' that I didn't want to risk getting distracted by other exhibits. I was sad to spend so little time with Sola and Rufus, but took some comfort that the former had stayed with me on my birthday weekend and I'd see the latter tonight when I crashed with her. Tim and I found the handicap exit this time after asking a couple of guards and headed back over to the subway around the other side of the blocks we'd walked on the way there. I might have found an elevator this time for part of the descent. The trip back to SoHo went quickly and we had lots of time to hit the car to pretty up and then get in line at Spano's Bakery. The police actors asked us for the password and directed us into the VIP line. A fight broke out when the thug actors pulled a guy out of the line, slammed him up against the rolled down security gate and then dragged him inside the club. O.o I saw that guy as a ghost later on inside. It was a very physical play, I had visceral reactions to the way the thugs were treating the people who threatened them. We were soon invited into the bedroom area and a young woman playing a young version of Cynthia von Buhler gave us some champagne in clay teacups and showed us a dark dollhouse that illustrated some of what had happened when her grandfather was killed (she tried to illuminate it with a candle but the crowd was a bit too big for me to see much). It was an interactive show, we were each given a slip of paper with our role on it, we could choose to participate or not. Tim got a bigger role as the undertaker's assistant, I was just a neighbour whose husband owed some money, so I was content to hang back. We were soon drawn through a secret book case door into the speakeasy proper and soon encountered the medical examiner who asked us if we could identify a dead body. I definitely a needed drink after that and started a tab since I was paying Tim back for the play ticket in drinks. :-) All the drinks were served in tea cups with lots of ice, but they weren't quite as insanely expensive as NYC drinks were usually, just close. :-) I had another non standard bee's knees, a Girl Friday (which was delicious with muddled cucumber and sloe gin), and a prosecco heavy French 75.

There were two more scenes in the bedroom as well as one in the back alley, the oracle actor would grab me and pull me by my hand to shift the audience to where the next big scene would be to make sure that we didn't miss anything. They had a live trio playing music and dancing girls would perform. We'd claimed our VIP reserved couch in a corner where we had a decent but not great view, it was awesome to have a place to come back to, though at one point I had to shift someone out of my seat (they went nicely though). At one point I was bracing myself on the back of a settee and realised that I was standing next to the head thug actor portraying Shultz, and he consulted Tim and me about how much he should offer a dancer to lure her away to his club. A couple of audience members interacted with me as they tried to fulfill their roles, it wasn't too crowded in there, it was a fun experience. The alley scene was the most dramatic, and we were all amused to see a woman come out of her apartment to put out the trash in the middle of it. After the shooting, one female actor gave me shivers as she sang to the son character, her voice was heavenly. We went back inside and saw the court case near us (Tim had gone to previous shows and had been given a big audience participant role that he shared with me after it played out this night). We stayed a bit after the official end since the cast was going to party until the club opened to the public for the evening. It was neat watching the minimal transformation from interactive play space to hidden bar. :-)

It was still super early, just 7:30 or 8, and we had more gin to drink. I closed up my tab and we caught a cab over to Gin Palace. Oh. My. God. I was in heaven once I saw the menu, they just serve gin drinks. They have gin and tonic on tap! It wasn't very crowded at that point, yay starting early. I had a Charles Lindbergh (Beefeater, Lillet, Apricot liqueur, orange and lemon juice) and tried Tim's Never Seen Star Wars (St. George, combier kummel, orgeat, lime, oj). We soon realised that lunch had worn off and decided to head next door for Thai food. I was pretty tipsy at that point and tried to down as much water as possible with dinner. My very spicy mushroom and peppers dish with sticky rice helped to encourage me to calm it down with liquid, though I should have gone with the thai iced tea. I did have the Thai tea panna cotta for dessert, it was perfection. It was still early (sense a theme?) so we headed back to the Gin Palace for one more drink. Details are a bit hazy, I noted an amaro one but not sure if Tim had it or me. I definitely stopped myself from drinking more, I think I might have only had water on our return and tried Tim's. It was much louder and crowded at this point, a DJ had set up in the corner by the door and the noise levels (and alcohol) were giving me a headache. We took a taxi back to the car, both ways were only $6, totally worth it.

Tim was okay to drive by then, and offered to give me a lift to Jen's place since he was going to bring his car to Brooklyn so that he could leave from there as he continued his trip south to Philly, I think. That took long enough by car that I was really glad that I didn't have to take the subway. It wasn't much past midnight so Jen was still up and watching hockey (she hosted the wrong Canuck, I haven't followed the Leafs in ages), so she buzzed me in. I was charmed by the old style two door elevator. Once I got up to her floor and into her apartment, her cats went a bit nuts loving me. Unfortunately my leg brace seemed to be a suitable stand in for a rubbing post, but they weren't too hard. Jen had had surgery a few months ago and I was happy to take advantage of the assistive devices that she still had around, I might just pick up some suction grab bars for my shower. Once I was cleaned up and bundled into the day bed, Kennedy perched on my chest and rubbed his face all over mine, then curled up by my hip to keep me company as I slept. I miss having a cat. :-)

Sunday October 26, 2014

I woke up slightly hungover as the sun hit me in the morning. Not having one last drink at the Gin Palace last night was definitely a good call. I had some yoghurt and tea for breakfast and got myself cleaned up, kind of glad to be out of my glad rags from the day before and back into cargo pants. :-) I was a bit pissed off that my DND game had been cancelled *after* I'd made arrangements to take the early bus back to Boston so that I'd be there for the game. I considered pushing my departure back but decided that I could nap on the bus if necessary. I hugged Jen goodbye, gave the cats one last scritch and headed out for the short walk to the subway. It wasn't a complicated trip, just straight up on the A I think, taking about half an hour to get to Port Authority. I had bought my ticket early enough, and arrived early for the 10am trip, that I was in boarding lane 2 or 3 and there weren't many people boarding in front of me. I tried to take the handicap seat behind the driver, but he pushed back against clearing his stuff from it *sigh* but then directed me toward some seats near the back that had more leg room. My braced leg just fit in there, though I did end up with a seat mate and that meant I didn't get up to move around much. Luckily the close by bathroom stayed closed most of the trip so I wasn't hit with the chemical scents I usually expect near the back of the bus. It was an unexpected express direct to South Station, no bathroom or food stop, so I was glad I'd grabbed something quick at Port Authority. It was a quick trip to Boston and an easy trip via the nicely accomodating to my braced leg MBTA to get home. :-)

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